I’ve been a dreamer and a make-believer as far back as I can remember. Honestly, I always thought I was just a late bloomer, that my mental maturity developed at a slightly slower pace than my peers. Then, during a talk with my mother shortly before my graduation from grad school, I told her how anxious I was about being a real adult and how I was afraid I was still so behind my friends in terms of “real world achievements.” Instead of assuring me that I was completely normal and that I had nothing to worry about, however, she told me, “Well, maybe you’re just different. You have always marched to your own tune.”
At first, I really wasn’t sure that was a compliment, though now that I’m older, I’m pretty sure it is. I like being me. I like the things that I do and the way I see the world. Somewhere along the line, though, I’m afraid a vital part of me got lost. Even though I’ve made it a priority ever since I was a teenager to hold on to the dreams and ideas that have always brought me so much joy over the years, I can feel the harsh demands of money and status and reality striving to pull them away. Above all, the artistic soul craves freedom, and in a world where money and power are the Alpha and Omega, true freedom is hard to come by.
Like several new adults, I’ve let the idea that “I have to do this” and “I have to do that” in order to be successful get in my head. Guess what? It’s made me miserable. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?
I’ve never believed that there was only “one true path” to success or happiness, though I’ve met several people who begged to differ. I’ve decided that I’m going to take the next few months to see if I can prove them wrong. The new book (the title of which I will hopefully be able to reveal soon) will be out on July 1. Along with editing, formatting, and working on new manuscripts, I’m going to try to get back to what it means to be joyful, to be confident, and to live each day the way I’m meant to live it.
To be honest, I don’t really want too much out of life. I like being outside. I like blue skies and green fields and forests and rivers and oceans. I want a good book to read. I want to get healthy, in mind and in body. I want to do good and take pictures and write. I honestly don’t care if anyone knows my name or if I get a fancy car or designer jewelry (though a lake house would be AWESOME). Or maybe the truth is I want everything out of life, it just doesn’t seem like all that much by today’s standards.
Regardless, I’m going to try to make it all happen. Wish me luck!
All Photographs Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2014